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Kiir Unveils Climate Adaptation Measures at Africa Climate Summit 

South Sudan President Salva Kiir leaves the podium after he delivered his remarks during the Africa Climate Summit 2023 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi on September 5, 2023.

NAIROBI— South Sudan President Salva Kiir addressed the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, where he outlined the government's initiatives to address climate adaptation and protect South Sudanese citizens from severe climatic changes. 

The three-day-long summit, jointly organized by the Kenyan government and the African Union, has convened various African heads of state, ministers, United Nations officials, and climate change activists with the aim to address the escalating impact of climate change on Africa and its inhabitants.

During his Tuesday speech, Kiir emphasized the devastating effects of climate change, including flooding, droughts, and extreme heatwaves, which have displaced over 2 million people in South Sudan alone.

Despite Africa contributing less than 5% of global emissions, it suffers the most from the consequences of climate change.

Kiir announced South Sudan's commitment to renewable energy production, aiming to generate 3,000 megawatts from hydro, solar, wind, and geothermal sources by 2050. This ambitious plan aligns with achieving net-zero carbon emissions.

"We aim to embark on climate-smart agriculture to meet our food needs," Kiir added, acknowledging that more than 80% of South Sudan's rural population relies on agriculture and livestock for their livelihoods.

Fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and gas, are the largest contributors to global climate change, responsible for over 75% of greenhouse gas emissions and 90 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, according to the United Nations.

To mitigate climate change, Kiir revealed South Sudan's intention to generate revenue through carbon trading, leveraging the country's natural resources' capacity to absorb carbon dioxide. South Sudan boasts the world's largest capacity for carbon absorption within its natural forests and the Sudd wetlands.

A coalition of major United Arab Emirates energy and financial companies expressed their interest in purchasing $450 million worth of carbon credits generated in Africa by 2030 during the summit.

Kiir called on fellow African leaders to address the impacts of climate change collectively. Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu also voiced concerns about the lack of funds for climate change mitigation and adaptation in Africa.

"As we head towards Cop 28, we have to raise an African voice on the establishment and capitalization of a special fund for Africa," President Suluhu stated. She urged advanced countries to specify the percentage of their climate pledges allocated to Africa.

However, Kiir stressed the importance of developed nations taking responsibility by financing climate adaptation and reducing emissions. "We in the global south expect developed countries to play their part by cutting their emissions by over 45% and leading in providing resources to assist with climate adaptation," Kiir emphasized.

Kenyan President William Ruto, host of the Africa Climate Summit, urged African leaders to prioritize climate action and place Africa's strategic goals at the forefront of climate change discussions. "In this moment of existential agency for all humanity, we have our ancestors' permission to innovate a way to go fast and go together," Ruto said. He highlighted the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for inclusive collaboration.

Ruto announced that the summit's conclusion would feature a declaration outlining Africa's position on climate finance and proposals for a global carbon tax system to enhance climate finance availability and encourage emissions reductions.

The three-day Africa Climate Summit, themed "Driving Green Growth and Climate Finance Solutions for Africa and the World," began in Nairobi on Monday amid Africa Climate Week.